The Word “Terrified” Is Just Not Strong Enough

If you’ll recall, I signed up for a beginner’s triathlon class that started 5 weeks ago. We are officially halfway through the class and until yesterday, I had skipped all but one session.

I received an email last week that said something like, “If you’re getting this email, you’re a huge slacker and we feel the need to check up on you.” I mean, it didn’t really say “slacker” but that was the point of the email.

I had to break down and email two of the coaches with the honest truth: I AM A SLACKER.

But that the bigger issue was that I was terrified of the whole cycling thing. If you’ll recall, I’ve got minimal cycling experience but haven’t ever ridden a bike with gears and haven been on one for more than 10 minutes in over 20 years. Also? TERRIFIED.

The coaches were wonderful and agreed to work with me. Even though my emails made me sound like a crazy person.

This weekend, we got the bike I was borrowing from Donnie’s sister. Donnie put me on the trainer (it’s like a stand thing that turns a bicycle into a stationary bike for training) and taught me about gears.

And that, is when the crying started.

I just got so frustrated because I didn’t understand the whole gear thing. And Donnie didn’t know how to explain it in a way that got through my thick skull. So I sobbed. And yelled something like, “I just don’t UNDERSTAND!”

It went really well.

We took the bike to the school down the road for me to ride on the track a bit and get the feel for the gears and shifting. I also had to get used to the new pedals Donnie put on the bike which had little toe cages to hold your foot in place because my feet were not staying put on the pedals. So, I had to get used to getting my foot in and out of those things without breaking my neck.

And that is when the crying started. AGAIN.

I kept trying to get my foot in before I got moving which is evidently not really possible. I finally got going a few times and rode around the track for a bit feeling a tiny bit more confident.

And then last night was the big test: My first group ride.


I do not think I can properly explain how terrified I was. I stress-ate ALL DAY. I don’t know if I’ve ever eaten so much in one day. I got there 30 minutes before I was supposed to meet one of the coaches which was 30 minutes before the class even started. I parked in the front of the parking lot away from everyone else. When my lovely coach got there? I rambled around about how terrified I was. She talked to me a bit, let me ride around the parking lot a bit, and then introduced me to the coach that was going to babysit me on the ride.

When the group finally left and my babysitter and I went to head out, I honestly ALMOST started crying again. I almost panicked and said, “NO! I CHANGED MY MIND!”

I trailed behind him for a few yards and he gently encouraged me to ride next to him. “Aren’t you worried I’ll crash into you?” He laughed. And all I thought was, OH NO. HE THINKS I’M JOKING. We made it to the first turn and I failed miserably at trying to signal safely. We stopped at a stop sign (WITH A CAR BEHIND US) and it took me about 3 hours to get going again. Partly because I waited until there were not cars or bikes within about a 10-mile radius. And partly because I struggle starting.

Then he put me on a 1-mile loop with a little up and a little down and he left me ON MY OWN. AND I LIVED.

I rode about 25 minutes total, then immediately ran a mile (that was the workout for the night) and I’ll write about how weird that was another day.

The point of this? I just can’t explain how terrified I was. I really did eat all day and have nightmares the night before. I hung out between vomiting and tears during the entire ordeal. I never relaxed enough to have fun, but I almost kinda enjoyed it. Almost. A little bit. Except that I was terrified. And kinda wanted to die.

BUT I DID IT. And then the stress-release from it all being over mandated I binge some more at McDonald’s on the way home. Where they gave me a free Sundae because they made too many. So I had that on top of the awful meal I ate and the milkshake I inhaled.

So…YAY! Conquering my fears while succumbing to my glutonous tendecies to depend on food for all of my emotional needs!

But let’s not focus on that. Let’s focus on my accomplishments. I rode a bike! With a group! On a road! Where there were a few cars! And I didn’t cry, puke, or die!

I say it was a successful outing.

5 thoughts on “The Word “Terrified” Is Just Not Strong Enough”

  1. You are so awesome. I would have trouble with the swimming part and would totally slack because of that. Can’t wait to read about your rubber band legs experience after the ride…

  2. OMG!
    Okay I will confess I finally got this whole reader thing sorted out, so I just read a bunch of your posts. Yay for your facebook page (I liked you – and I just made mine but my blog is new so I feel very weird).
    Also … the biking.
    I have been flirting with the idea of a triathlon. I’m swimming (in a pool – open water terrifies me), but I don’t have any concept of the gears either.

  3. Ahh you are such a bad ass. I have a hard time trying things that actually scare me – most people do, I assume – but you actually DO IT. Even if it requires prodding, who cares. I make excuses here to Sunday and never end up getting my butt out there. Good for you!

  4. This sounds kind of like that time you jumped off a building, right? And you didn’t even need the pressure of all those donations to push yourself into going through with it. True, the stress eating happened, but you still went through and did the activity that scared your pants off. So I’d say that is definitely progress.

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